My summer of editing is going according to plan and next month brings with it a special occasion for me. At present, I’m finishing my editing pass on Bk1, Trust in the Forgotten. That means I’ll easily begin work on Bk2, A River in Each Hand, by July 1st.
I’ll say it now and I’ll say it loud: I take my self-imposed deadlines seriously.
My plan was to finish this pass on Bk1 before June 30th and I’ll make that with ease. Given the month didn’t go according to plan that’s a bit surprising. First, there was my blackout at work, an ambulance ride to the ER, and several days to recover. Later, I was convinced to work additional hours at my part-time job until the end of the month.
Financially, that was great, but I was already struggling to finish my project. It’d have been easy to toss the deadline aside. Instead, I doubled down this last weekend and am now ahead.
Let’s get back to the true topic, though, which is my special occasion. At first glance the reason for it might seem anti-climatic. Quite simply, it’s my returning to Bk2 because Bk2 represents a milestone for me. That always makes it extra sweet to work on it.
My original, and bloated, Carrdia novel was written between 2000-05. I scrapped it, but in 2015 did steal (to a degree) a couple of plots from it, which I changed considerably. One of those plots became Trust in the Forgotten, featuring a minor character I renamed, Riparia Dellbane. The other plot became the peripheral novel, Torment Surfacing (again, greatly changed).
In late 2016 it was time to draft the sequel to Trust in the Forgotten and I was full of irrational apprehension. After all, it was over a decade since I’d last drafted an original story. Did the ability remain? It might sound like a silly fear, but most of that decade was spent too ill to even read while I was pumped full of prescription drugs and struggling with oxygen deprivation.
*Interesting fact: The last time I suffered from oxygen deprivation was while drafting Bk2 (I received my referral to a pulmonologist a month later).
The truth of my fear is that it isn’t unusual for writers to think similar thoughts for countless reasons. How many writers worry they’ll never be able to come up with a second story, or even a third? Imagination is an ability that we don’t know is alive and well until we use it.
My fears were unfounded, of course. Since writing A River in Each Hand I’ve drafted several dozen short stories and a handful of novels. Some of those take place in my new setting of Pannulus.
What’s amazing to me is that for someone who’s a master worrier, I held onto faith in myself. I can thank Ray Bradbury for that in large measure, for he said to use all that our imagination could conjure. More would come.
For that reason, A River in Each Hand will forever have a special place in my heart. It was the novel that announced that all I’d gone through hadn’t damaged my fantasy writer mind. I came away from the experience more certain that if I believed in myself I couldn’t be stopped.
The same goes for every writer reading this.
Believe, not in a muse or any other external driving force, but in the writer within. Free your imagination to gallop to new ideas and it’ll reward you with more than you can imagine. If you did it once you can do it again and again so long as you believe in yourself. Worry is an imagination suppresser. Let it come alive, let it thrive.